Concept: Gender identity disorder
Whether transgender people should be able to compete in sport in accordance with their gender identity is a widely contested question within the literature and among sport organisations, fellow competitors and spectators. Owing to concerns surrounding transgender people (especially transgender female individuals) having an athletic advantage, several sport organisations place restrictions on transgender competitors (e.g. must have undergone gender-confirming surgery). In addition, some transgender people who engage in sport, both competitively and for leisure, report discrimination and victimisation.
Transgender children who have socially transitioned, that is, who identify as the gender “opposite” their natal sex and are supported to live openly as that gender, are increasingly visible in society, yet we know nothing about their mental health. Previous work with children with gender identity disorder (GID; now termed gender dysphoria) has found remarkably high rates of anxiety and depression in these children. Here we examine, for the first time, mental health in a sample of socially transitioned transgender children.
Although previous investigations of transsexual people have focused on regional brain alterations, evaluations on a network level, especially those structural in nature, are largely missing. Therefore, we investigated the structural connectome of 23 female-to-male (FtM) and 21 male-to-female (MtF) transgender patients before hormone therapy as compared with 25 female and 25 male healthy controls. Graph theoretical analysis of whole-brain probabilistic tractography networks (adjusted for differences in intracranial volume) showed decreased hemispheric connectivity ratios of subcortical/limbic areas for both transgender groups. Subsequent analysis revealed that this finding was driven by increased interhemispheric lobar connectivity weights (LCWs) in MtF transsexuals and decreased intrahemispheric LCWs in FtM patients. This was further reflected on a regional level, where the MtF group showed mostly increased local efficiencies and FtM patients decreased values. Importantly, these parameters separated each patient group from the remaining subjects for the majority of significant findings. This work complements previously established regional alterations with important findings of structural connectivity. Specifically, our data suggest that network parameters may reflect unique characteristics of transgender patients, whereas local physiological aspects have been shown to represent the transition from the biological sex to the actual gender identity.
Increasing numbers of adolescents are seeking treatment at gender identity services in Western countries. An increasingly accepted treatment model that includes puberty suppression with gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogs starting during the early stages of puberty, cross-sex hormonal treatment starting at ~16 years of age and possibly surgical treatments in legal adulthood, is often indicated for adolescents with childhood gender dysphoria (GD) that intensifies during puberty. However, virtually nothing is known regarding adolescent-onset GD, its progression and factors that influence the completion of the developmental tasks of adolescence among young people with GD and/or transgender identity. Consolidation of identity development is a central developmental goal of adolescence, but we still do not know enough about how gender identity and gender variance actually evolve. Treatment-seeking adolescents with GD present with considerable psychiatric comorbidity. There is little research on how GD and/or transgender identity are associated with completion of developmental tasks of adolescence.
Gender identity disorder (GID) refers to transsexual individuals who feel that their assigned biological gender is incongruent with their gender identity and this cannot be explained by any physical intersex condition. There is growing scientific interest in the last decades in studying the neuroanatomy and brain functions of transsexual individuals to better understand both the neuroanatomical features of transsexualism and the background of gender identity. So far, results are inconclusive but in general, transsexualism has been associated with a distinct neuroanatomical pattern. Studies mainly focused on male to female (MTF) transsexuals and there is scarcity of data acquired on female to male (FTM) transsexuals. Thus, our aim was to analyze structural MRI data with voxel based morphometry (VBM) obtained from both FTM and MTF transsexuals (n = 17) and compare them to the data of 18 age matched healthy control subjects (both males and females). We found differences in the regional grey matter (GM) structure of transsexual compared with control subjects, independent from their biological gender, in the cerebellum, the left angular gyrus and in the left inferior parietal lobule. Additionally, our findings showed that in several brain areas, regarding their GM volume, transsexual subjects did not differ significantly from controls sharing their gender identity but were different from those sharing their biological gender (areas in the left and right precentral gyri, the left postcentral gyrus, the left posterior cingulate, precuneus and calcarinus, the right cuneus, the right fusiform, lingual, middle and inferior occipital, and inferior temporal gyri). These results support the notion that structural brain differences exist between transsexual and healthy control subjects and that majority of these structural differences are dependent on the biological gender.
- International review of psychiatry (Abingdon, England)
- Published about 5 years ago
Gender dysphoria (GD) in childhood is a complex phenomenon characterized by clinically significant distress due to the incongruence between assigned gender at birth and experienced gender. The clinical presentation of children who present with gender identity issues can be highly variable; the psychosexual development and future psychosexual outcome can be unclear, and consensus about the best clinical practice is currently under debate. In this paper a clinical picture is provided of children who are referred to gender identity clinics. The clinical criteria are described including what is known about the prevalence of childhood GD. In addition, an overview is presented of the literature on the psychological functioning of children with GD, the current knowledge on the psychosexual development and factors associated with the persistence of GD, and explanatory models for psychopathology in children with GD together with other co-existing problems that are characteristic for children referred for their gender. In light of this, currently used treatment and counselling approaches are summarized and discussed, including the integration of the literature detailed above.
INTRODUCTION: In the literature, verbal fluency (VF) is generally described as a female-favoring task. Although it is conceivable that this sex difference only evolves during adolescence or adulthood under influence of sex steroids, this has never been investigated in young adolescents. AIM: First, to assess sex differences in VF performance and regional brain activation in adolescents. Second, to determine if untreated transsexual adolescents differ from their sex of birth with regard to VF performance and regional brain activation. METHOD: Twenty-five boys, 26 girls, 8 Male-to-Female transsexual adolescents (MtFs), and 14 Female-to-Male transsexual adolescents (FtMs) were tested in a cross-sectional study, while performing a phonetic and semantic VF task within an MRI scanner. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Functional MRI response during VF task. RESULTS: Boys and girls produced similar amounts of words, but the group MtFs produced significantly more words in the phonetic condition compared to control boys, girls, and FtMs. During the semantic condition, no differences were found. With regard to brain activity, control boys showed more activation in the right Rolandic operculum, a small area adjacent to Broca’s area, compared to girls. No significant differences in brain activity were found comparing transsexual adolescents, although sub-threshold activation was found in the right Rolandic operculum indicating a trendwise increase in activation from control girls to FtMs to MtFs to control boys. CONCLUSIONS: The better performance of MtFs is consistent with our expectation that MtFs perform better on female-favoring tasks. Moreover, they produced more words than girls and FtMs. Even though a trendwise linear increase in brain activity between the four groups only approached significance, it may indicate differences in individuals with gender identity disorder compared to their birth sex. Although our findings should thus be interpreted with caution, they suggest a biological basis for both transgender groups performing in-between the two sexes.
Persons with gender identity disorder (GID) often suffer from psychiatric co-morbidity, and it is an important prognostic factor for long-term psychosocial adjustment in GID. However, previous research has not addressed the risk factors of psychiatric co-morbidity. In this study, we tried to clarify the risk factors among individuals with GID in Japan. A total of 326 consecutive GID persons were evaluated independently by two senior psychiatrists at the GID clinic using personal clinical interviews and results of examinations. The prevalence of current psychiatric co-morbidity was 17.8% of the total sample. School refusal was significantly associated with psychiatric co-morbidity. Sexual attraction to neither males nor females among GID persons and sexual attraction to females among male-to-female (MtF) GID persons were also significantly related to psychiatric co-morbidity. This is the first report to demonstrate a close relationship between patterns of sexual orientation and psychiatric co-morbidity among GID persons. We should pay more attention to psychiatric co-morbidity, especially among GID persons with non-homosexual sexual orientations.
Individuals with gender identity disorder (GID), who are commonly referred to as transsexuals (TXs), are afflicted by negative psychosocial stressors. Central to the psychological complex of TXs is the conviction of belonging to the opposite sex. Neuroanatomical and functional brain imaging studies have demonstrated that the GID is associated with brain alterations. In this study, we found that TXs identify, when viewing male-female couples in erotic or non-erotic (“neutral”) interactions, with the couple member of the desired gender in both situations. By means of functional magnetic resonance imaging, we found that the TXs, as opposed to controls (CONs), displayed an increased functional connectivity between the ventral tegmental area, which is associated with dimorphic genital representation, and anterior cingulate cortex subregions, which play a key role in social exclusion, conflict monitoring and punishment adjustment. The neural connectivity pattern suggests a brain signature of the psychosocial distress for the gender-sex incongruity of TXs.
Transgender (trans) and gender-nonconforming adults have reported reduced access to health care because of discrimination and lack of knowledgeable care. This study aimed to contribute to the nascent cancer prevention literature among trans and gender-nonconforming individuals by ascertaining rates of breast, cervical, prostate, and colorectal cancer screening behaviors by gender identity.